Pedestrian plan put in place for future Murfreesboro projects

Published 6:22 pm Friday, April 22, 2022

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MURFREESBORO – After a year of gathering data, Murfreesboro Town Council has adopted a Pedestrian Plan with the hopes it will help secure funding in the future.

Andrew Hickling, a representative from the consulting firm McAdams, presented the information to the council at their meeting here on April 13. He gave an overview of the methodology for gathering community input along with project prioritization and next steps to move forward.

The work to develop the plan was done through a grant from the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

The plan identified five goals of connecting the community with improved pedestrian facilities. Those goals included increasing pedestrian safety, increasing pedestrian mobility/accessibility, promoting equitable transportation options, fostering economic prosperity, and improving quality of life.

Much of the information was gathered through virtual community workshops and online surveys conducted throughout last year.

“We were still dealing with the pandemic, so we had to switch gears and not do the in-person stuff,” Hickling explained.

According to the results, 32 percent of participants suggested Main Street is in most need of pedestrian improvements. Additionally, 72 percent noted their main reason for not walking was a lack of sidewalks and greenways, and 71 percent stated their main reason to walk was for exercise and/or improving health.

Some of the recommended projects in the plan include filling gaps to Main Street’s existing sidewalks; adding sidewalks on High Street, Broad Street, Union Street; creating a side path on US Hwy 258 to connect Hertford County Middle School; updating maintenance in the historic district; making several intersection improvements; and more.

Hickling also noted that the pedestrian plan outlines actions to take to move projects forward and identifies partners to help implement those projects. Cost estimates were also included, with an estimated timeline of five years to complete smaller projects and 10 years for bigger, more expensive projects.

“Everything is becoming more expensive,” Hickling acknowledged. “We’ve tried to do our best to account for inflation.”

After the presentation, council member Jay Revelle asked if Hickling had an estimate of the amount of grant funding they may be able to successfully apply for.

Hickling replied that it really just depends on which projects they want to move forward with. He suggested that the smaller, cheaper projects might be easier to complete without taking the time to go through a grant application process. They could possibly be completed while waiting for funding for bigger projects.

“To implement the entire plan, you’re looking at 10+ years, depending on where you get your funding from,” Hickling stated.

He noted, however, that adopting the plan would only be the first step, and having it in place would be helpful to secure funding. He mentioned that the NCDOT, for example, could potentially foot much of the bill for certain pedestrian projects if the town has a plan such as this one in place.

“In order to qualify for certain grants, this plan would help us to be able to fund it,” agreed council member Berna Stephens before motioning to accept the pedestrian plan as presented.

Council member Craig Dennis seconded. The vote was unanimously in favor.